‘Hot ‘N’ Throbbing’
In previews March 8, opens March 28
Peter Norton Space, Signature Theatre, 555 W 42nd, 212-244-7529. The third and final offering in the Paula Vogel season revives this 1994 comedy about a woman who writes erotic screenplays to keep her troubled family afloat. Les Waters directs a cast headed by Lisa Emery, who won an Obie for her performance last season in Iron.
‘This Is How It Goes’
In previews March 10, opens March 27
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette, 212-239-6200. The cinematically ubiquitous Ben Stiller teams up with the seismic Jeffrey Wright in Neil LaBute’s drama about an interracial love triangle in small-town America. Stiller’s stage chops may be rusty, but having starred in LaBute’s film Your Friends & Neighbors, he’s no stranger to the author’s brand of trumped-up gender strife.
P.S.122, 150 First Ave, 212-477-5288. Playwright and composer Kyle Jarrow (who won an Obie last season for A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant) seems to have an inexhaustible talent for creating musical oddities. Here he muses on the plight of a teenage boy in search of his simian dad—a rock ‘n’ roll tale described as “part Tom Sawyer, part Tom Waits.”
P.S.122, 150 First Ave, 212-477-5288. Playwright Young Jean Lee sparked interest last year with The Appeal, a quirky take on the lives of the Lake Poets. Her latest foray brings the subject closer to home: the Western town where she grew up. No doubt she’ll find a way to make the familiar equally strange.
‘Play Without Words’
March 15-April 3
BAM Harvey Theater, 651 Fulton St, Bklyn, 718-636-4100. Based on Harold Pinter and Joseph Losey’s 1963 film The Servant, British director Matthew Bourne’s movement theater piece arrives in Brooklyn with no words but much promising buzz. The bar is set fairly high, though, after Bourne’s 1998 mostly male Swan Lake on Broadway.
‘The Light in the Piazza’
In previews March 17, opens April 18
Vivian Beaumont Theater, Lincoln Center, 150 W 65th, 212-239-6200. A new musical by playwright Craig Lucas and composer Adam Guettel that’s based on Elizabeth Spencer’s 1960 novella about a mother and adult daughter traveling through Italy and encountering complicated romance along the way. Bartlett Sher, who staged the musical to great acclaim in Seattle and Chicago, directs this Lincoln Center production.
In previews March 29, opens April 14
Second Stage Theatre, 307 W 43rd, 212-246-4422. A play about bratty Upper East Side teens? Don’t stick your finger down your throat yet. Paul Weitz’s new comedy has an intriguing angle: Daddy’s accused of insider trading. Peter Askin directs what has the potential to be a schadenfreude gas.
March 31-April 23
Connelly Theatre, 220 E 4th, 212-352-3101. This new musical by Transport Group takes as its subject an audience watching a new musical. Sound a little too meta for your liking? Fair enough. But given that the collaboration involves 100 people (including 18 playwrights, 22 composers and lyricists, and 45 actors), there’s bound to be a little something for everyone.
HSA Theater, 645 St Nicholas Ave, 212-868-4444. André De Shields stars in this Classical Theatre of Harlem revival of Camus’s existential tragedy. Adapted and directed by Alfred Preisser, the production explores the excess of empire—with a no doubt pointed 21st-century twist.
‘Souls of Naples’
April 2-May 8
The Duke on 42nd Street, 229 W 42nd, 212-239-6200. John Turturro headlines Theatre for a New Audience’s production of Eduardo De Filippo’s rarely seen (in these parts, anyway) comedy about a husband blinkered to everything but his own rampant ambition. Set in post-war Naples, the play (translated by our own Michael Feingold) takes an unflinching approach to the farcical combat of everyday life during peacetime.
La MaMa E.T.C. Annex Theater, 74A E 4th, 212-475-7710. Gardzienice Center for Theatre Practices, the renowned Polish experimental company, brings Euripides’ tragedy to the spacious Annex Theater—a perfect environment for the troupe’s holistic approach to language, music, gesture, and dance.
‘Glengarry Glen Ross’
In previews April 8, opens May 1
Royale Theatre, 242 W 45th , 212-239-6200. Sure, we could rent the first-rate movie version. But the tensile strength of Mamet’s language is meant to be experienced viscerally. And with a cast headed by Alan Alda and Liev Schreiber, how can we resist?
‘In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer’
April 12-May 8
Urban Stages, 259 W 30th, 212-868-4444. Carl Forsman directs this Keen Company revival of Heinar Kipphardt’s 1967 documentary drama about the scientist who helped invent the atomic bomb that ended the Second World War only to be hounded as a Commie fink by the U.S. government during the Cold War.
‘The Mammy Project’
P.S.122, 150 First Ave, 212-477-5288. Devised by Joan Evans and performer Michelle Matlock, this solo performance piece, directed by Kim Moore, tackles an overdue project: deconstructing Mammy. Along the way Matlock grapples with the pervasive stereotype of the large, maternal black woman from the minstrel era to the pancake box to the silver screen.
April 22-May 29
Playwrights Horizons, Mainstage Theater, 416 W 42nd, 212-279-4200. Dianne Wiest stars in this new play by Kathleen Tolan (Kate’s Diary, The Wax) about a college-bound teen confronting her mother on the ethics of her own international adoption. David Esbjornson directs an adolescent angst comedy with more at stake than shoplifting and the SATs.
‘Massacre (Sing to Your Children)’
Public Theater, 425 Lafayette, 212-239-6200. Kate Whoriskey directs the macabre story of seven people hell-bent on knocking off a neighbor—someone with an apparent knack for rising from the dead. Obie-winning playwright José Rivera has written this tale expressly for the LAByrinth Theater Company, which can only mean that it’s meant to be performed at maximum intensity.
‘Uncle Jimmy’s Dirty Basement’
P.S.122, 150 First Ave, 212-477-5288. You might not have heard of it yet, but down on the Bowery puppet rock is an established thing. The Elementals, downtown puppet masters, and Coocoohandler, an eclectic band that enjoys site-specific locales, team up to advance their nascent art a few light-years forward.
May 19-June 12
Playwrights Horizons, Peter Jay Sharp Theater, 416 W 42nd, 212-279-4200. Playwright Julia Cho (author of last season’s promising The Architecture of Loss) won the Weissberger Award for her new play about an Asian American family dizzyingly contending with a punishingly assimilationist culture. How does a young Asian teen cope when even the local serial killer wants only perky blondes?
‘The Cherry Orchard’
In previews May 25, opens June 16
Atlantic Theater Company, 336 W 20th, 212-239-6200. Tom Donaghy brings his offbeat American sensibility to bear on Chekhov’s final masterpiece about a household of unusually elegiac Russian eccentrics. Directed by Scott Zigler and starring Mary Steenburgen, this new translation may just bridge the gap between the fading of early-20th-century Russian culture and our equally fading early-21st-century own.
In previews May 31, opens June 20
Second Stage Theatre, 307 W 43rd, 212-246-4422. S. Epatha Merkerson takes on the title role in Cheryl L. West’s two-hander about an aging African American woman casting back on a difficult life’s journey on the 35th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death.